Votto bats cleanup with Reds' trio at ASG
First baseman placed in high-profile lineup spot by skipper La Russa
KANSAS CITY -- The story leading up this week's All-Star festivities, as they pertain to the Cincinnati Reds, was as much about who wasn't coming as who was. Did Tony LaRussa let an old grudge get in the way of giving Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips what seemed their rightful place on the National League squad? Or was it simply a numbers game?"I think everyone has their own opinion on that," center fielder Jay Bruce said. "I can't imagine that that would play into this. But it wasn't my decision, and I don't really have much of an opinion about it, because it's all just opinion. I'd like to think that there is integrity on both sides."
Rather than harp on the issue, let's focus on these facts: The Reds have three representatives -- Bruce, Joey Votto and Aroldis Chapman -- at the Midsummer Classic, and you can make a compelling case that they were deserving of two more. And that says a lot about the overall state of Cincinnati's roster here at the break."When they did the voting, we were in first place," Votto said. "Generally the first-place clubs have a few more [reps] than most. There are some middle-of-the-pack teams that have two or three guys here. But I think, at the time, all five guys were deserving." Votto, no doubt, is deserving of his spot in La Russa's starting lineup. He has the 7.34 million fan votes to show for it. And La Russa has opted to slot Votto into one of that lineup's most prominent spots -- the cleanup spot. It's a well-earned honor for the former MVP, whose .348 average, 14 home runs, 63 walks, 35 doubles, 48 RBIs and league-leading 1.088 OPS have been indispensable for the Reds' offense. But coming into the Classic, there were questions regarding Votto's physical ability to participate, given the knee inflammation issues he's endured in recent days. That Votto will tough it out and play Tuesday night is no surprise, but it remains to be seen how much he'll play. The NL, though, is rather light in the first-base department, with the Cubs' Bryan LaHair the only other full-time first baseman on the roster in this first season since Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder deserted the Senior Circuit.
National League lineup
|1. Carlos Gonzalez, COL||L||DH|
|2. Melky Cabrera, SF||S||CF|
|3. Ryan Braun, MIL||R||LF|
|4. Joey Votto, CIN||L||1B|
|5. Carlos Beltran, STL||S||RF|
|6. Buster Posey, SF||R||C|
|7. Pablo Sandoval, SF||S||3B|
|8. Dan Uggla, ATL||R||2B|
|9. Rafael Furcal, STL||S||SS|
|Matt Cain, SF||R||P|
The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.